Be Here Now.

By whitney | April 22, 2014

Photo via Pinterest

While browsing through Tiny Buddha today, I found 3 quotes followed by stories that struck my attention.

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, guilt, or possessions—we cannot be free.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen

While we have been talking about Stress Awareness Month this week, I was looking for inspiration for ways to be more “zen.” Through reading, it occurred to me that one of the most stressful things many of us do, is choosing not to be in the present moment. Our mind is full of what we said yesterday, what we need to do tomorrow, or about things that haven’t even happened. However, all we ever have is right now. We need to realize this and make attempts to live in the moment.

Worry solves nothing. Let go of thoughts of yesterday, and set yourself free.  Cut yourself some slack by being you in every moment, not the person you think you should be. I wanted to share this with you to inspire us all to take a deeeeep breath and know that we are exactly where we need to be.

Categories: Bright Ideas, Inspire | Tags: , , | 2 comments

Inspiring Women: Lindsay Leggett

By catherine | April 16, 2014

Linds

Lindsay Leggett is special. This was the first thought that popped into my head when we initially met. Over the years, as our friendship grows, I continue to add wonderful adjectives to my long list of things I know and love about her-kind soul, caring friend, crazy talented designer, lover of animals, creator of gorgeous dog collars, and owner of Lucky Puppy Adventures.

I hope you will enjoy getting to know Lindsay’s as much as I have!

What inspired you to start your business?

My three rescue dogs were in need of new collars and I was looking for a new  career.  I thought about what kind of business I wanted to start that would bring me joy, satisfaction and help a cause.  I love dogs so I formed my business plan around them.  I taught myself how to sew, developed the style, and focused on the quality in which I wanted my collars to be.  The basis of my company’s name, LUCKY PUPPY ADVENTURES, is that once a dog is rescued, they are loved and now can begin their new life with many adventures ahead.  I also wanted the rescued dog to leave a gift of hope to his fellow dogs without a forever home.  That is why $5 from each collar goes to various rescue organizations so that they can be at their best when people are looking for a new pup.

Biggest challenge you face as a woman owned business?

I believe everything is in my favor because I’m a woman owned business.  I’ll tell you a great challenge right now … production!  I’m looking to hire someone to help me keep up with my orders!  YAY!

Best piece of advice you ever received? From who?

Never settle with any job, relationship, situation that sits funny with you.   You only live once and it is up to you to enjoy it and make the most of it no matter what your current circumstances are.  Be comfortable with making adjustments.  Focus on your intent and make every day count.  It was a tremendous gift to myself when I started to implement this philosophy into my life. Catherine Carr is my Oprah of book recommendations and she has introduced me to several authors that I love.  I listen to these books on tape occasionally while I’m sewing.

What’s your morning routine?

I’m just starting again to establish a routine that goes something like this: walk the dogs, coffee, check/respond to emails, start checking off the list I made the evening before.

Calendar: paper or electronic?

Paper.  And more specifically, Graphic Image’s beautiful Appointment books.  I get one every year … it’s my Christmas present to myself.  I’ve tried to go electronic, but I’ve learned that it helps my brain to open up my book and write it down.  Plus, the books are so pretty and I use fun pens.

How do you find work/life balance?

During the day, I have been starting to sit down for my meals and enjoy them without any other distractions besides the company I’m with.  No cell phones, no emailing in front of the computer.  It really breaks up the day and gives you some time to just be.   Also, when I need a breath of fresh air, I walk my dogs.  I encourage everyone to.  It’s so therapeutic, they love it, you love it, everyone is getting exercise and enjoying the outdoors … even it’s it’s just for 15 minutes when getting home from work.

How do you tame your email inbox?

Still trying and open to suggestions.

Favorite organizing tool/trick for business?

I have a few.  Clean up after yourself (sewing can take over a room), make a plan for the day the day before, don’t send an email when a phone call would be more appropriate, do the most difficult thing first thing after coffee!

Words you live by?

Currently, my positive affirmation in the morning is, “I am constantly on the move to improve myself and life.  I have a loving heart, a kind spirit and a strong mind.  I have a healthy body that is resilient and has been very good to me.”

Categories: Bright Ideas, Inspire, tips | Tags: , , , | 2 comments

Essential Organizing

By whitney | April 15, 2014

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

If you’ve read last week’s post, Stop Letting Disorganization Stress You Out, then you know that in order to alleviate stress, you need to be able to access your items. This goes for everything you own but, most importantly, for the items you use most often.  Looking for things should not be what holds you back, steals your time, and makes you late.

This being said, you need a home for our purse and keys. These are two things you need when walking out the door, and you should always be able to grab them and get out in a pinch. Visualize your entryway, kitchen or whichever room is the first one you normally walk into, and pick out a home for each item. It can be as easy as hanging a hook next to the door to place your keys on and designating a chest to set your purse on. Find a system that works for you, but remember it is crucial that your items have their own special place!

Here are a few fun and functional ideas:

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

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Photo via Pinterest

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Celebrate Mother Earth

By whitney | April 10, 2014

Photo via Etsy

Photo via Etsy

Earth Day 2014 is coming up on April 22. Give nature some much needing TLC by doing something to pitch in. Here are a few ideas:

Plan to ride your bike to work or to run errands. Not in the cards? Plan to carpool or take public transportation.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Volunteer to help with a community garden, picking up trash, or even plant something new in your own yard.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Switch your old light bulbs to energy saving fluorescents & make sure to recycle those old bulbs!

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Switch to online bill pay on anything possible.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Take a shorter shower.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Attend the Earth Day Texas festival at Fair Park April 26-27 to learn more ways you can help year round- maybe you could even ride your bike there:)

Photo via Earth Day Texas

Photo via Earth Day Texas

Categories: Bright Ideas, Go Green | Tags: , , | 1 comment

Stop Letting Disorganization Stress You Out

By whitney | April 8, 2014

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Happy Stress Awareness Month! Spring is rolling in, and with it brings the inspiration to freshen up our lives and homes. We want to feel lighter and more awake. We want simplicity and fun. What doesn’t fit into any of this? You guessed it: stress. Stress beats us down and prevents us from living the life we desire. Thankfully, being organized helps us cut stress in all aspects of our lives. Don’t believe me? Keep on reading…

  • When we leave our house and lives a mess it creates conflict within ourselves and with those close to us. Physical clutter makes our space feel heavy, prevents us from finding the things we’re looking for, and leaves us feeling agitated. It also creates an uncomfortable environment for those who live with us.

Clutter=Stress.

  • Keeping all of our to-do’s, appointments, grocery lists, and social events in our heads leads to brain overload. When we don’t have an effective system for tracking tasks big or small, our short-term memory can suffer.  Mentally keeping track of things also hinders our ability to process and plan fun things.

A Full Head=Stress.

  • Using the excuse that we “don’t have time” to get organized does not cut it because being disorganized is the real time thief. One of our favorite definitions of clutter is “delayed decisions,” meaning that clutter is a visual form of procrastination. And we all know procrastination is not only a time suck but also an energy zapper.

Procrastination=Stress

Don’t let disorganization fill your precious life with unnecessary stress, Start taking small steps toward organization and simplicity. Step number one: call all in a row. :)

Categories: Educate, Inspire | Tags: , , , | 1 comment

How-To: Organize Your Taxes in a Pinch

By whitney | April 3, 2014

Photo via Kikki. K

Photo via Kikki. K

Ugh, the dreaded tax season is approaching. Obviously, doing your taxes is not a fun task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just set aside an hour; grab your favorite beverage, and get it knocked out!

Begin by gathering the necessary documents, which, depending on how you file, could be located in various places. Daily Finance lists the most important tax-related items:

  • Last year’s tax return.
  • The Social Security number — or tax ID number, if applicable — and birthdate for you and everyone in your household.
  • Income information for employees: W2s.
  • Income information for self-employed individuals: W9s, 1099s and Schedule K-1s. Report all income, even if you did not receive a 1099 from a client.
  • Income information from investments: 1099s reflecting interest earned, dividends, retirement funds and son on.
  • Proof of income adjustments: 1098s.
  • Receipts: If you are itemizing, they should be added for health expenses, donations and other key categories.

After you have the appropriate papers gathered, either use software like Turbo Tax or take your documents to your tax preparer. To decide whether to do your taxes yourself or get them done by a professional, assess how complicated your tax situation is and go from there. For example, owning a small business or having multiple investments may lead to a more complicated tax preparation that you may not feel up to tackling on your own.

Once you have everything entered and completed, double check for errors. If you do find a mistake, Daily Finance recommends you take pre-emptive action and file a 1040X form. This form will help you avoid penalties, since you took the step to report the error.

After you’ve finished and realized that gathering the papers you needed wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, check this awesome filing system and get a head start on next year!

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April Home Organizing To-Do List

By catherine | April 1, 2014

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Happy April!

1. Laugh. April is Stress Awareness Month which means you need to schedule some time for fun:) Kick it off with an April Fools prank!

2. Plant. Do some research at the nursery and spruce up your yard with spring flowers. Stay tuned later this month for tips on organizing gardening supplies.

3. Sort. Pull out your spring clothes and take out anything you don’t like anymore to be donated or given to friends.

4. Recycle. In honor of Earth Day, make recycling a priority. Set up a center in your house that works for you.

5. Breathe. Take time to pause, take 3 deep breaths, and be in the moment.

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Product Love: Organizing From the Inside Out

By whitney | March 27, 2014

Photo via Amazon

Photo via Amazon

Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern is a game changer. In it, she explains the basic steps to take  for you to tackle all of your organizing undertakings, no matter how big or small. She also  provides room-specific plans of action for organizing your entire house.

But what really sets this book apart from the pack is the beginning, which guides you to find the root of your disorganization. We all have different personalities and experiences that shape who we are. Morgenstern breaks down how to identify our individual organizational hang ups and work with our personality, rather than against it. She believes being organized is a completely learned skill that we must educate ourselves on and then practice.  By discovering why we do what we do, we are able to develop workable, long-lasting systems.

Categories: Educate, Inspire | Tags: , , , , , , | no comments

Which Habit of Yours Leads to Clutter?

By whitney | March 25, 2014

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Clutter overwhelms and exhausts us. Sometimes, the battle against clutter feels interminable and unwinnable. If, however, we can identify the causes of clutter, we can take steps to beat it!

Top three habits that lead to clutter:

1. Coming in the door and dropping things in random places.

Prime example: the mail.

On Monday we throw the mail on the kitchen table, Tuesday the ottoman, Wednesday the bench in the front hall, and by Friday the house is cluttered in paper. Solution: Everything needs a home. Designate a place for the mail so that when you walk through the door you know exactly where to put it. This keeps it contained until you have time to deal with it, reduces clutter, and cuts down on important things (like bills or appointment reminders) getting lost in the shuffle.

2. Not putting things away after you use them.

Prime example: the dishes.

Dirty dishes belong in the dishwasher, not in the sink or on the counter. It takes SO much less time to put things away right after you use them than to let them build up and eventually form into a massive, unmanageable pile. If you take something out, put it away. It’s as simple as that!

3. Not scheduling time on a consistent basis to let items go.

Prime example: your closet.

It is important to look through your clothes and household items regularly (once a month will do!) and remove anything that you no longer love, need, or that’s broken. Designate a large canvas or brown paper grocery bag for items to be donated and take it to the donation center whenever it gets full.

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Release

By whitney | March 20, 2014

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Spring brings with it a sense of renewal, and thus our motivation for spring cleaning. We are inspired to take out the old and freshen up our homes. Spring is also a good time to let go of emotions and practices that are holding us down and no longer serve us.

When we harbor past hurt and resentments, we are unable to be our best selves.  This  can then lead to all sorts of problems in our lives involving our relationships with others, our ability to take proper care of ourselves, our holding onto clutter, and our attitude toward life.

If we continue to run from negative feelings, they will continue to show up. The only way to begin the process of letting go, is to face those feelings head on! Scary? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.   Tiny Buddha advises “The best thing we can do to reduce the impact of these emotions is to acknowledge them. Uncomfortable emotions bring the precious gift of making us aware that we’re trapped in thoughts, beliefs, stories, and old interpretations of ourselves. By being present with our emotions, we can break our identification with them and release the past.”

Allow yourself to feel the emotion, remind yourself that you are ready to move on, and simply let it go.

Categories: Bright Ideas, Inspire | Tags: , , | no comments